Los Angeles' unvaccinated may soon be banned from entering a slew of indoor public spaces, as the city copes with another wave of rapidly rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
City lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a sort of "no shots, no service" vaccine mandate, following in the footsteps of New York City, which is the first major city to impose such a mandate.
In Los Angeles, the new law would require anyone 16 and over who is eligible, to show proof of at least one inoculation shot before stepping into restaurants, bars, retail stores, gyms, spas, movie theaters, concert venues and sporting events.
"Enough is enough already," Council President Martinez, who proposed the motion alongside Council member Mitch O'Farrell, said in a statement. "Hospital workers are exhausted, moms who have put aside their careers are tired, and our kids cannot afford the loss of another school year."
She added: "We have three vaccines that work and are readily available, so what's it going to take? Our kids are about to return to school and the unvaccinated are putting their lives at risk every day. Ask your questions, talk to your doctor, and get the vaccine. Let's put this behind us."
The Los Angeles proposal comes a day after New York City announced it would require aspiring customers and/or bon vivants to show their paper copy of the CDC vaccine card or provide electronic proof via the city's Excelsior app. The mandate goes into effect on Aug. 16.
Similarly, San Francisco health officials announced on Tuesday that they are also "exploring" implementing similar vaccination-verification requirements.
It is an appealing solution for local leaders across the country who are desperately trying to fend off another, more severe wave of cases triggered by the highly contagious delta variant. As NPR has reported, the delta mutation appears to be around twice as transmissible as the original SARS-CoV-2 strains. But research shows that COVID-19 vaccines still provide strong protection against it.
In Los Angeles, where roughly 90% of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals are unvaccinated people, the latest surge in cases has prompted thousands to roll up their sleeves.
The LA Times reports, providers administered nearly 44,000 first doses per day from July 25 to 31. As of Wednesday, 71.7% of LA County residents 16 and older have been vaccinated with at least one dose.